They Lay Down Beside Her and Wept

A handful of years ago her 17 month old baby boy died. She had several other children, the oldest of whom was only nine. Her Relief Society sisters did not deliberate long. Three of them simply showed up with faces full of concern and began to clean. Sitting on the stairs, she watched them, not really comprehending why they were there. She hadn’t processed it yet, what she had just been through, what had just occurred. All of a sudden it hit her like a wave, all of it at once, and she fled upstairs to her room, collapsing on her bed in uncontrollable sobs of despair. It wasn’t long before all the cleaning tools were found abandoned. The women had made their way upstairs and all lay down on the bed beside her, silently weeping with her and holding her close.

A woman in my ward related this story today. Her story of personal salvation. The body of Christ, in all its beauty, majesty, and glory.


  1. Thank you. I have missed three fast and testimony meetings in a row because of being on bedrest. Anyone else have a testimony that was shared today that touched you? I would truly appreciate hearing it.

  2. The testimony I heard today wasn’t anything special, just a father talking about his son’s baptism. But that son is MY son’s best friend. My son has autism, and is well on his way to age 9– and he still refuses to be baptized. We haven’t been pushing too hard because it’s his decision, after all… but after hearing about his friend being baptized my boy decided today that he is ready. It’s a miricle to us, no matter how simple it looks on the outside.

  3. Yes. This is Messiah.

  4. NotRachel – That is a miracle. I have two friends with autistic sons who are not yet eight, but I know they have concerns about whether their sons will understand the significance of baptism. It sounds like your son understood the significance and decided it was right for him.

    Thank you for sharing. I needed this thread today.

  5. Thank you! I love this.

  6. J. Stapley says:

    Amen, Brad.

  7. Beautiful, Brad. It’s moments like this that illustrate what it’s all about.

  8. Pure Religion

  9. Messiah and company. Beautiful.
    Mary…starts cleaning up the place.

  10. Thanks Jacob.

  11. And our shame as a people that we hear of this so infrequently given the hidden needs, burdens, scars, and crosses carried by each of Heavenly Father’s children,

  12. Kevin Barney says:

    Thanks for this.

  13. Amen.

  14. I love these faith promoting assurances so freely given. Poetry, in our meeting we heard from a man from South Africa, a Jew, who read the Book of Mormon and found Christ. He bore a beautiful testimony. I bore my testimony for the first time in about fifteen years. I am an introvert and find it hard to do, but felt the need today. I hope you are up soon, Dear Sister.

  15. That was nourishing. Thank you.

  16. I was visiting a ward today, where a widow of less than a year stood and told about experiences she had received recently which confirmed to her the reality of seeing her husband, and another child, and one of her grandchildren again someday. She talked about how she had desperately needed an experience to buoy her spirits in the face of her trials.

    I’ve never seen my mother like this.

  17. I heard a similar (identical? How interesting) story today during Relief Society. It was a beautiful testimony she bore of the sisterhood she felt with the women in her ward, that they are indeed her sisters and loved her enough to grieve with her as well as help her clean her home so couldn’t help but be cluttered by all of her other children. So heart-wrenching and so comforting to know the bearing up others will give in the face of tragedy.

  18. Michael says:

    Certainly beats our meeting yesterday. “I’d like to bear my testimony. I know that Trek is true.”

  19. Mark Brown says:

    Mourn with those that mourn.

    Thank you, Jacob.

  20. Wonderful that they mourned with her instead of telling her how and how long she “should” grieve. We should apply that kind of compassion to all our interactions. I’m going to ponder this; thank you for sharing it.

    I guess one testimony that struck me recently is when a counselor in the bishopric, an older and totally devoted Mormon, said he never enjoyed being a father because he didn’t feel he ever got it right. He said something to the effect that it was nerve-wracking and discouraging. He has seven really good kids. That kind of honesty makes me feel better about myself; it doesn’t make me want to quit, it makes me think I’m not as bad as I thought.

  21. This reminds of of an experience my close friend, Arline, had while living far from her parents and siblings. She had been married for one year, and received news that her husband died while serving in Viet Nam. My friend’s visiting teaching came over and saw that Arline overwhelmed with grief. The visiting teacher held Arline in her arms throughout the day, and then when night came, she saw that Arline was too grief-stricken to stay alone, so the kind woman slept beside Arline, holding her in her arms. She did this for two days, until Arline’s mother arrived to comfort her.

  22. I was heavily pregnant with my third child; #1 was barely two and #2 was only ten months old, I had a basket of diapers and clothes to hang on the line when my VT showed up. My heart dropped as I had a small window of time to hang them up as both babies were napping. As I opened the door and invited them in, one sister saw my overlfowing basket of laundry. She immediatley picked it up and carried it outside, while we followed. Loving conevrsation and helping hands are all I remember after that. They really cared about ME that day. Bless those two sisters…

  23. One more…Going thru my divorce a dear friend looked me in the eye and said, “I don’t do cookies and casseroles but I’m a good listener. Call me anytime.” I did and she did. True Christlike service – I needed conversation much more than I needed a casserole.

  24. Thanks Jacob. This is pastoral theology.

  25. Great story. No attempts to explain or, pardon me, philosophize. “He’s in a better place now.” “The Lord needs him more than you.”

    Some of you may have seen this, but this letter from Ram Das to a couple whose daughter was murdered also expresses true empathy and compassion, with no attempt to explain away or minimize the grief and loss.

    Dear Steve and Anita,

    Rachel finished her work on earth, and left the stage in a manner that leaves those of us left behind with a cry of agony in our hearts, as the fragile thread of our faith is dealt with so violently. Is anyone strong enough to stay conscious through such teaching as you are receiving? Probably very few. And even they would only have a whisper of equanimity and peace amidst the screaming trumpets of their rage, grief, horror and desolation.

    I can’t assuage your pain with any words, nor should I. For your pain is Rachel’s legacy to you. Not that she or I would inflict such pain by choice, but there it is. And it must burn its purifying way to completion. For something in you dies when you bear the unbearable, and it is only in that dark night of the soul that you are prepared to see as God sees, and to love as God loves.

    Now is the time to let your grief find expression. No false strength. Now is the time to sit quietly and speak to Rachel, and thank her for being with you these few years, and encourage her to go on with whatever her work is, knowing that you will grow in compassion and wisdom from this experience.

    In my heart, I know that you and she will meet again and again, and recognize the many ways in which you have known each other. And when you meet you will know, in a flash, what now it is not given to you to know: Why this had to be the way it was.

    Our rational minds can never understand what has happened, but our hearts– if we can keep them open to God – will find their own intuitive way. Rachel came through you to do her work on earth, which includes her manner of death. Now her soul is free, and the love that you can share with her is invulnerable to the winds of changing time and space. In that deep love, include me.

    In love,

    Ram Dass

  26. Chills. Thank you, Jacob, and the others who shared.

  27. Antonio Parr says:

    Thank you for posting, and reminding me of my covenant to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.

    Thank you, as well, for the powerful way in which you shared this story. Sometimes less is more, and this was very much the case with your post.

  28. Beautiful! The gospel in action. Both examples actually, but more poignantly the laying down and weeping together. Been striving to live this gospel a long time and have seen both the beautiful and ugly sides. Thankfully the beautiful outweighs the ugly.

    One family in our ward lost a newborn daughter and when this sister’s name was mentioned as a replacement for a nursery leader I reminded them she had recently lost an infant. The response was “Tell her to get over it.” Then I pictured in my mind the man who went up to a father who had just lost his 14 year old son, and put his arms around him and they wept on each other’s shoulders for what seemed like a very long time. The latter scene still motivates me to service in ways that the first one never could.

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